As the global cricket ecosystem witnesses a shift towards franchise-based T20 leagues, English cricketers like Roy are in high demand, prompting them to evaluate the amount of time they want to dedicate to national duties.
Roy, who recently represented the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League (IPL), is among several players from England contemplating a move to the MLC. Reece Topley, a talented fast bowler, is also weighing his options, taking into consideration his fitness status following shoulder surgery, as reported by ESPNCricinfo.
The six English players, including Roy, Topley, Harry Brook, Dawid Malan, Matthew Potts, and David Willey, currently hold incremental contracts with the ECB. These contracts provide an additional GBP 66,000 per year and serve as a top-up to their county salaries.
Unlike fully centrally-contracted players, Roy has an incremental deal with the ECB, allowing him the possibility to terminate the contract and participate in the MLC. While it is unlikely that players with full central contracts will feature in the inaugural season of the MLC, Roy’s situation presents an opportunity for him to explore a role in the league, scheduled to take place from July 13 to 30 at the Grand Prairie Stadium in Texas.
The MLC has gained significant backing from India and Australia, with four IPL team owners investing in four MLC franchises. Additionally, Australia’s Cricket Victoria and Cricket New South Wales hold stakes in the remaining two teams. The involvement of these influential cricketing nations adds credibility and allure to the MLC, making it an attractive option for players seeking new avenues and substantial financial rewards.
However, the MLC’s timing coincides with the English summer cricket season, presenting potential scheduling conflicts. The T20 Blast’s semi-finals and final are set for July 15, along with two County Championship games. Furthermore, the ECB’s highly anticipated Hundred tournament commences on August 1. As a result, the ECB is unlikely to grant No Objection Certificates (NOCs) to contracted players, preventing their participation in the MLC. Nevertheless, players with incremental contracts, like Roy, have more flexibility and can negotiate a release from the ECB to pursue opportunities in the United States.
Surrey, Roy’s county team, expects him to play in the MLC, most likely representing the LA Knight Riders. The timing of the league conveniently bridges the gap between the T20 Blast and the commencement of the Hundred, allowing players like Roy to showcase their skills in different T20 environments.
The MLC has already secured the signings of prominent overseas players such as Marcus Stoinis, Quinton de Kock, Wanindu Hasaranga, Anrich Nortje, and Glenn Phillips. Additionally, Trent Boult and Adam Zampa, who recently showcased their talent in the IPL, are also expected to join the league in the United States.
As the allure of franchise-based T20 leagues continues to grow worldwide, players face crucial decisions regarding their commitments to national teams and the potential financial rewards and exposure that leagues like the MLC offer. The evolving cricket landscape and the emergence of these leagues provide players like Jason Roy with opportunities to broaden their horizons and maximise their earning potential while entertaining fans across the globe.
(With inputs from PTI)